It’s been more than 12 hours since the New York Knicks lost track of Derrick Rose, and at this point all we have to go on are reports from ESPN that he went back to Chicago to deal with a “family situation” after yesterday’s morning shoot around. Things are suddenly feeling very bleak in Madison Square Garden.
It wasn’t just Rose’s disappearance that dampened the mood last night. There was also a 110-96 loss to the Pelicans, which featured Carmelo Anthony seemingly going out of his way to get ejected in the third quarter:
Kristaps Porzingis was 3-of-13 from the floor, Anthony Davis dropped 40, and Kyle O’Quinn joined Anthony in the locker room after taking a hack at Davis. This was a throwback Knicks performance, reminiscent of the ones put on by those early-aughts squads that made dysfunction and bad basketball their calling cards.
And you know what? Maybe this Knicks team is covered in more muck than they’ve been given credit for. Kristaps Porzingis’s rise to the throne has produced a lot of enthusiasm and goodwill in MSG, but last night was a reminder that the Knicks are still, well, the Knicks.
This is a 17-21 team that has a bottom-five defensive rating. This is a team that traded a useful and cheap center in Robin Lopez for a broken-down point guard in Derrick Rose, and then went about replacing Lopez with Joakim Noah, maybe the only NBA player more broken down than Rose. Anthony still wastes way too many possessions pounding the ball into the floor instead of passing it to Porzingis, and all Phil Jackson has managed to do this year is stick his foot in his mouth.
Speaking of Jackson, he, too, was nowhere to be found last night. He attended the game, but did not speak to reporters afterward to provide any information or updates about Rose’s unexpected absence. If a team’s identity is supposed to be handed down from the very top, the one the Knicks are currently wearing is fitting.